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Campus Sustainability Activities Across the Country
UC Davis is First University in Country to Earn Platinum Bicycle-Friendly Business Award. The League of American Bicyclists announced UC Davis as the first university or college to receive the leagues platinum Bicycle-Friendly Business award for helping to lead America ‘toward a greener future.
UCSB’s Water Action Plan is the First of its Kind in the UC System. UCSB hopes to educate its campus community and reduce consumption and waste, with its just-approved Water Action Plan.
UCSD’s Keeling Apartments Earn a Spot on AIA’s Top 10 for Sustainable Architecture. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology.
UC Berkeley Publishes Greek Energy Savings Competition Guide. The university’s PowerSave Campus program and The Green Initiative Fund have published a guide to direct student groups through the process of creating and running energy-savings competitions within college or university Greek systems. The guide is based on Green Cup, a Greek energy-savings competition at the university.
UC Merced Working to Wipe Out Food Waste. To help meet their landfill goals, the university has switched to a reusable food container that can be recycled. It also has begun collecting food waste, along with napkins and paper towels, from their dining hall and using it to make compost.”
Good to be green: Accolades add to UC Davis’ environmental reputation. In a month that marked the annual Earth Day celebration, the University of California, Davis, received recognition for its environmental sustainability efforts from The Princeton Review and the League of American Bicyclists, reaffirming the school’s reputation as a green leader.
UCSD Campus Rooftops Serve as Launch Pads for Sustainability Efforts. By the end of 2013, 34 structures on UC San Diego’s campus and its affiliated sites will be equipped with solar photovoltaic panels.
Energy Makeovers for Labs Create Breathing Room in the Bottom Line. At the University of California at Irvine, a campus sustainability group came up with a plan for what it calls a ‘smart lab,’ which was completed in 2010. Chronicle of Higher Education subscribers only.
Water: Fact or Fashion? The UC Davis Sustainability Showcase has opened its second exhibit for viewing on the first floor of the Memorial Union. The theme of the exhibit is Water: Fact or Fashion and features disposable water bottles and issues surrounding water quality and use.
Highlighting the Role of Students as Key Stakeholders in Campus Sustainability: A Statewide Multi-system Conference Approach. The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference presents an exciting model for encouraging and expanding student leadership in statewide and local partnerships. The event is organized by all four systems of higher education in California: The University of California, California State University, California Community College, and private colleges. Last year it was attended by over 1,000 people (including 200 speakers) representing almost 90 campuses.
Energy Efficiency and Sustainability at University of Missouri Gregg coffin, superintendent of University of Missouri’s power plant, discusses the effort and progress the school has made to reduce its carbon footprint by increasing efficiency and utilizing sustainable energy resources.
How UC IRvine redefines efficiency Even before becoming a signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, facility managers at the University of California, Irvine were challenging conventional notions of energy efficiency in the campus’ laboratories.
Video explains how to Be a Smarter Commuter. UCLA Transportation is pleased to announce the release of our new short film, Be a Smarter Commuter. Be a Smarter Commuter features interviews with 11 UCLA staff and faculty members who get to campus via public transit, bicycling, carpooling, vanpooling and walking. Smarter commuting supports UCLA’s Healthy Campus Initiative by reducing carbon emissions and encouraging an active lifestyle.”
UC Davis Police hand out free bike lights. “Busted! But, have a light instead of a ticket. This video shows a creative partnership between TAPS and the UCDPD.”
UC Berkeley Student Government Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels. The Associated Students of the University California (ASUC) Senate has approved a bill ordering the divestment of its funds from fossil fuel companies while encouraging other institutions of higher education to follow suit. The bill binds the ASUC to complete the withdrawal of any of its $3 million in total investments from fossil fuel companies.
UCSD Student Government Votes to Divest from Fossil Fuels. A.S. Council nearly unanimously passed a resolution presented by the UCSD Student Sustainability Collective last Wednesday, proposing to divest fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas, from UCSD’s endowment funds. The Feb. 20 decision makes UCSD the third UC campus student government, following the example of UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara, who voted on similar bills earlier [in February] to pass legislation regarding fossil fuel divestment. These campuses are three of 256 universities participating in the ongoing, nationwide campaign that calls on universities to freeze new investments in fossil fuel companies, divest from direct ownership and commingled funds including fossil fuel public equities and ultimately rid endowment funds of fossil fuel stocks…The movement focuses on a list of 200 coal, gas and oil companies that are labeled as the [largest publicly-traded companies that own the majority of the world’s fossil fuel reserves] by the Carbon Tracker Initiative at CarbonTracker.org.”
Chronicle of Higher Education article on national student conference on divesting from fossil fuels mentions UC student resolutions. Nearly 200 student organizers from across the country gathered at Swarthmore College for a conference to unify the fossil-fuel divestment movement. In addition to building bonds among student campaigns, conference organizers connected students with other environmental activists who represent communities already being affected by fossil-fuel extraction.
UC Santa Cruz Releases First Sustainability Report.
UC Santa Cruz Biomedical Building Earns LEED Gold.
UCSC Dining is pleased to announce that they have now transitioned to serving 100% cage-free eggs across all dining hall and retail units.
Annual Sustainability Retreat Held for UCSC Student Sustainability Leaders.
UCSC Cafe Earns Green Business Certification, the first contracted food vendor on campus to receive their Green Business Certification from the City of Santa Cruz.
OfficeMax has launched nationwide its new delivery program, the Boomerang Box™, that reuses and recycles boxes it uses for delivery to participating business customers – including UC Berkeley. Under the program, OfficeMax packs and delivers customer orders in Boomerang Boxes. Customers need only to collect and stack the empty boxes in designated locations for OfficeMax’s fleet driver to pickup with the next order delivery, until the boxes can no longer be reused for shipment. Then, OfficeMax will recover the boxes for recycling. The Boomerang Box is constructed of reinforced corrugate with a minimum of 50% postconsumer material and is intended to be a fully reusable shipping container. There are three sizes. Return of each Boomerang Box is key to the success of the program and to helping to meet the campus’ Zero Waste goals. From UC Berkeley Campus sustainable newsletter.
UCD, UCSB recognized as Gold-level “Bicycle Friendly Universities.” While Stanford was the only university in the country recognized as a Platinum level Bicycle-Friendly University (BFU) by the League of American Bicyclists in their Fall 2012 rankings, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara earned the only two Gold-level designations. UC Irvine was recognized among 15 other universities at the Silver level, and UCLA earned recognition at the Bronze level. The BFU program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, staff and visitors. The BFU program provides the roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for cycling.
UC Santa Barbara Receives $50 M Grant for Energy Research. “The university has received a $50 million private donation to support energy efficiency research and engineering programs. About half the money will be used to construct a building to house the Institute for Energy Efficiency, an interdisciplinary research center.”
EPA Provides Support for Plastic Free Campuses Program. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded funding to the Plastic Pollution Coalition and four other organizations to expand the Plastic Free Campuses program to the University of California campuses at Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco. A key objective of the program is to reduce plastic pollution at the source.”
UCSF Medical Center Moves the Needle on Sustainable Food. “The adage you are what you eat, seems even more important when you are eating at a hospital cafe or sick in the hospital. UCSF has a commitment to moving the needle on sustainable food as it works to meet its goal of procuring 20 percent of its food from sustainable sources by the year 2020. At UCSF, sustainable food must meet at least one of several standards: USDA certified organic, grown within 200 miles of San Francisco, domestic or fair trade certified or certified humane raised and handled, cage-free, grass-fed, or pasture raised…If your child is sick at the UCSF Medical Center, you will be happy to know the medical center has switched to organic baby food for pediatric patients. The following organic baby foods are now in use: organic apples, apple sauce, bananas, carrots, carrots/corn, chicken/brown rice, peas, sweet potatoes, pears and turkey/squash. This switch came as result of both the priorities of the Sustainable Food Working Group and external pressures from parents. ‘Many parents came in concerned,’ explained Jack Henderson, Associate Director, Nutrition and Food Services.”
UC Merced Opens Green Student and Athletic Center. “Designed to meet LEED Platinum requirements, the new center features sun shading to provide maximum daylighting with minimal solar gain, grass pavers for the fire lane, and drought tolerant native landscaping.” See also: AASHE Resource: Green Athletic Buildings (AASHE Member Resource)
AASHE Interview Series: UCLA’s Chief Sustainability Officer. AASHE talks to Nurit Katz, University of California, Los Angeles’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, to discuss her work on campus and involvement in the AASHE 2012 conference.
UC Berkeley researchers team up with the community to eliminate toxic chemicals. “UC Berkeley researchers are teaming up with local organizations to plant thousands of ferns in a South Berkeley lot in an effort to extricate toxic chemicals and eventually create a new haven of green gardens. The project, spearheaded by the campus department of environmental science and the citywide nonprofit organization Berkeley Partners for Parks, will experiment with pteris vittata, also known as the Chinese brake—a specialized fern known to extract a thousand times more arsenic from the soil than a typical plant. If successful, the city will then transform the area into a greenway lined with bicycle paths and trees.”
UC Berkeley Student Wins AASHE Research Award. “A recent UC Berkeley graduate won a sustainability research award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for her senior thesis calculating the campus’s greenhouse gas emissions based on its entire supply chain of goods and services. Kelley Doyle, who received a B.S. in environmental sciences in May 2012, presented her thesis, ‘Converting university spending to greenhouse gas emissions: A supply chain carbon footprint analysis of UC Berkeley,’ at AASHEs annual conference in Los Angeles earlier this year. She won the association’s undergraduate research award for 2012.”
UC Berkeley Installs DIY Bike Repair Station. “The do-it-yourself repair station is the first of three, planned by the university’s Office of Parking and Transportation, as part of a wider effort to accommodate increasing demand for bicycle services on campus. The station is equipped with screwdrivers, a tire pump and a reference code to access detailed repair instructions on internet-enabled phones.”
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Convenes National Energy-Food-Water Dialogue. Leaders from the research, government, industry and nonprofit sectors gathered at the University of California, Davis, this week to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive roadmap that will position the nation to realize opportunities amid a looming global “resource revolution.” The Energy-Food-Water Dialogue on Oct. 28-30 was hosted by Linda P.B. Katehi; Deborah L. Wince- Smith, president and CEO of the Washington, DC-based Council on Competitiveness; and Harold Schmitz, chief science officer at Mars Inc. and executive director of the Mars Center for Cocoa Health Science…UC Davis has been working to meet the challenges of the energy-food-water nexus. This year the university contributed to the creation of the 2012 California Bioenergy Action Plan, which is designed to accelerate clean energy development, job creation and protection of public health and safety; contributed to the 2012 Vulnerability and Adaptation Study, California’s third major assessment of climate change; launched the Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy to inform better policy; ranked 11th worldwide for citations per paper in the field of water research, and eighth for citations per paper in water for food research; and completed the Jess Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, a zero carbon teaching and research facility that embodies the energy-water-food nexus.
UC San Diego Installs Electric Vehicle Charging Station. “Two electric vehicle charging stations are now open to the public, installed by local renewable energy company Sullivan Solar Power. The station infrastructure was fully paid for through the EV Project, a U.S. Department of Energy funded program administered by ECOtality.” Equities.com
New solar panels help power UCLA student center. “Kennan Cronen may have graduated in 2011, but he’s left his mark on UCLA for many years to come: He’s the driving force behind the installation of the campus’s first solar panels to help power a building. The student-led project allowed UCLA Facilities Management to install 132 solar panels on the roof of the student-owned Ackerman Union. The panels began to supply about 2.5 percent of the buildings electricity when they were hooked into the grid Wednesday. The new panels are expected to produce 130,000 kilowatt-hours per year, enough energy to run 20 homes annually…The TGIF program is designed to support student projects that go above and beyond what campus departments fund, added Roy Champawat, director of the student union for ASUCLA. Hes thrilled to see the project on Ackermans roof and only wishes the panels were more visible. ‘Students really wanted solar panels because even if the maximum efficiency isn’t there today, they believe that’s where the future lies,’ Champawat said. ‘Now the students are reducing greenhouse gases and getting power out of the sun.’” UCLA Today.
UCI bicycle commuter hopes others on campus follow his lead. “Every morning and evening, Ramon Zavala ‘05 pedals his Felt Verza City 3 along Anteater Drive, cycling between his Newport Coast apartment and his UC Irvine office. As coordinator of employee transportation, he encourages drive-alone campus commuters to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions by adopting public transportation or other sustainable modes of travel. And he practices what he preaches…When he joined the Transportation & Distribution Services department, Zavala began a blog chronicling his adventures in full-time bicycle commuting. Called ‘Bike UCI Commuting, Advocacy, Education: The Story of an Upstart UCI Bike Commuter and Advocate,’ it’s by turns personal, instructive, entertaining and activist.” UC Irvine Web story.
UC Merced staff members’ invention helping reduce campus waste. “UC Merced’s library used to be one of the trashiest places on campus—patrons generated a lot more garbage than recycling. But all that garbage led to an invention by two campus staff members that could help UC Merced reach the zero landfill waste portion of its Triple Zero commitment. The goal also includes having zero net energy and climate neutrality by 2020. Eric Scott, associate university librarian for library operations, and Matt Hirota, the campus waste reduction/recycling coordinator, designed a three-section bin for recyclables, compostable material and landfill items. Three [bins] stand in The Lantern, where students, faculty and staff use them every day.” UC Merced News.
Chemistry Professor Making the Most of his Waste. “Chemistry Professor Jason Hein and his students make a lot of compounds in the lab. They also make a lot of chemical waste. But Hein found a way to clean up the waste and reuse it, saving money and helping the environment at the same time. Hein and his students handle many chemicals, but one of the most common is acetone, a solvent used to clean all the glassware used in their synthetic-organic lab. Usually, the used acetone is stored in containers elsewhere on campus until the company that picks up campus waste comes to get it. UC Merced pays to have the chemical waste hauled off. But by putting it through a biotech solvent recycler, they can make one 20-liter jug of acetone last through four to five uses. In the end, the lab winds up with far less waste. UC Merced News.
UC reaches milestone of 100 LEED certifications! A new lab on the UCLA campus is more than just a place for cutting-edge research into paraplegia and cancer: It is the 100th green-certified facility in the UC system, a milestone in sustainability that puts it far ahead of other universities around the nation.
If UC Berkeley departments reduce energy consumption, now they get to keep the savings. “In the past, UC Berkeley operating units ‘never really paid attention to their energy consumption in the buildings,’ explains Chuck Frost, manager of the campus’s newly established energy office, based at 2000 Carleton St. ‘It was a non-issue because it didn’t come out of their budgets,’ but instead was paid out of central-campus funds. That has changed.
Cal Dining earns highest level of green department certification. Over the summer, Cal Catering took UC Berkeley food services in a sustainable step forward, joining as the latest green department on campus, with the highest level of green certification…Cal Dining has been on the forefront of sustainable food services, and Cal Catering is no different. From maintaining an independent garden of herbs and vegetables to 100% compostable packaging and cutlery, Cal Catering strives to deliver quality services with the best sustainable practices. Cal Catering donates its excess food to Bare Abundance, a local non- profit charity that aims to feed the communities of Berkeley and Oakland.
Textbooks go digital at UC Berkeley. The Cal Student Store has announced the option of purchasing e-textbooks, which allows students to access textbooks on their computers instead of purchasing a physical copy. In addition, Educational Technology Services on campus is participating in a nation-wide e-textbook pilot program that will allow free access to a selection of books for free in an electric form. E-textbooks contain a user-friendly interface containing features such as highlighting, a search engine for note taking, and other study oriented strategies to help students engage in the curriculum. Through a partnership with Follett Higher Education Group, the Student Store is building experience with e-textbooks and helping to chart a course for the near and long-term future of digital learning.”
UCLA Beefs Up Environmental Humanities With 3 Hires From Stanford. Three researchers of environmental and digital humanities are moving from Stanford University to the University of California at Los Angeles this month as part of their new institution’s push into the emerging field. Chronicle Higher Education.
Zero Waste Orientation at UC Santa Cruz. By focusing their efforts over the past five years, the UCSC Orientation Office has made significant progress towards making orientation programs zero-waste events. Blog, UCSC.
UCSC Campus Natural Reserve: a living laboratory. “A core objective of the sustainability movement is the protection, maintenance, and stewardship of the environment and the endurance of critical environmental resources for future generations. In order to accomplish these goals it is essential to educate citizens about the environment and train future environmental scientists.
U California Merced Student Wins Brower Youth Award The Earth Island Institute has honored Martin Figueroa with the Brower Youth Award for his leadership in water conservation and energy efficiency. Figueroa coordinated last year’s competition to see which residence hall on the UC Merced campus could save the most water. The competition, which used new water-monitoring technology to track progress and identify leaks in campus water lines, resulted in savings of more than 14 percent of the normal water usage.
UC Berkeley Helps Train Laid-Off Workers for New Careers The university has launched a five-month technical education program offered through nearby Laney College that aims to enhance workers skills, restore their confidence and enhance their job prospects as they look to re-enter the workforce. Participants continue to receive unemployment benefits during the training program. The pilot program was developed with funding from Alameda County’s Workforce Investment Board.
UC’s leadership in sustainable food cited in article on the Real Food Challenge Over the past two years, students in the RFC network have worked with sustainability directors and other campus stakeholders to secure $48.5 million worth of pledges to purchase more local, fair, sustainable, and humane food. The RFC scored a major victory earlier this year when the University of Vermont not only signed the Real Food Commitment, but received the endorsement of Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross, who pledged to double the amount of locally consumed food in the state within 10 years through the Farm to Plate initiative. This is on the heels of a system-wide real food policy that passed within the University of California network, made up of 10 institutions. Student discussions are now under way to expand the policy to the California State University system, which is comprised of 23 schools. (published in Sustainability Journal, Vol. 5 No. 4 • August 2012 • DOI: 10.1089/sus.2012.9952)
Best Practice Award Case Study of the Week: UCLA’s La Kretz Hall. UCLAs Institute of the Environment found an ideal home in La Kretz Hall. The building is a model for sustainable resource use, and is the universitys first project to receive certification under the U.S. Green Building Councils Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
UC Merced ‘Dynamic Duo’ Wins 2012 UC Sustainability Champion Award Making an entire campus sustainable takes a lot of planning, education and work. But those efforts are what earned two of UC Merceds sustainability leaders systemwide recognition. Former Director of Energy and Sustainability John Elliott and Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Administration Jim Genes, called a dynamic duo by the committee that honored them, won the 2012 UC Sustainability Champion award at the 11th annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference earlier this summer. Vice President for Budget and Capital Resources, Patrick Lenz, presented the award, concluding his comments with this statement: For their leadership in carrying forward the vision of UC Merceds founders to make it one of the most sustainable campuses in the world; for their leadership within the UC system on clean energy and climate action; for the progress on sustainable water systems in the UC system and at this conference that wouldnt have been possible without them; and, for approaching every sustainability challenge with a positive, can-do, teamwork-oriented attitude, I am proud and honored to present this years UC Sustainability Champion Award to John Elliott and Jim Genes of UC Merced.
UC Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awardees The Best Practice Awards, announced in April and presented at the conference, highlight achievements that can serve as models for other campuses. Programs at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Santa Cruz and UC San Francisco won awards for inventive approaches to energy efficiency, sustainable foodservice and waste reduction. Read more on the winning projects.
Berkeley Law Building earns LEED Gold certification Congratulations to the Berkeley Law Building Infill project team on receiving LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council. This marks the UC Berkeley’s 9th LEED certification, and the 2nd certification for the Law School. This award-winning project includes several outstanding, well-designed green building features, such as drought-tolerant landscaping, on-site rainwater capture, daylighting, high-performance lighting and ventilation systems that automatically respond to existing climate conditions, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. The project also successfully participated in the PG&E Savings by Design program, receiving a $51,117 incentive for energy efficient design.
Styropalooza: from waste bins to Aggie wall hooks Week after week, research assistant Ben Pyles watched the Dumpsters outside the Genome Center fill up with Styrofoam, taking up maybe a third to half the space in the bins. The university does not track the amount of Styrofoam (technically expanded polystyrene) waste on campus, but Pyles multiplied what he was seeing at his building by the 2,000 laboratories at UC Davis. Though inexact, the calculation was enough to make him want to find a solution. Now, thanks largely to his efforts, Styrofoam is coming full circle at UC Davis. Not only is Styrofoam from university labs being recycled, its also getting a second life as a student-designed product that may be sold in UC Davis Stores as early as September. As part of the recycling projects pilot stage, Pyles and others organized a Styropalooza collection event this week yielding 731 pounds of the stuff. A second Styropalooza is expected later this year. Hopefully we can turn an environmental negative into a leadership role something to show everybody this can be done, Pyles said.
Forbes magazine features UC Merced’s triple zero commitment to sustainability The triple zero commitment was incorporated into the campus long-term development plan in early 2009. Its quite a serious commitment for us; its tied into all of our environmental permitting and the mitigation associated with that, said Elliott. Universities are natural first-movers in this area, he added. To address problems [like climate change] we need to educate a new generation, figure out new ways to do things, and get real on-the-ground implementation experience. For now, UC Merceds triple zero commitment is ambitious and rare. But its clear that John Elliott sees in the plan the new business-as-usual in a world shaped by climate change. We shouldnt think of these goals being set at the university level as just kind of quaint or interesting, he said. Theyre examples of what needs to be happening across all organizations in order to combat a challenge like climate change.
Sustainability Manager, Housing, U California Los Angeles This position will develop, coordinate and administer sustainability-related programs and policies within Housing and Hospitality Services geared toward achieving buy-in and habit transformation from residents and team members. Responsibilities will include acting as a catalyst for sustainability activities and developing and implementing programs. Successful candidates will have a bachelors degree in a related field and two years of experience in management of sustainability projects. The review of applications will begin July 11.
UCSB graduate student team to create a Water Action Plan that can be a template for other UCs In collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), 6 students from the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management (Bren School) are working to produce a Water Action Plan for UCSB. The Water Action Plan seeks to build upon the schools historic water practices that allowed the University to surpass Californias 20% water-use reduction mandate nine years in advance. The Plan will examine UCSBs historical and current water use data on the following water types: potable, non-potable, wastewater, stormwater, reclaimed, and graywater. It will also identify and evaluate strategies for water reduction, and explore education and outreach opportunities pertinent to on-campus water conservation. Upon completion, the Water Action Plan will be implemented under the Universitys UC Sustainable Practices Policy; the guidance document will enable UCSB to minimize water usage while meeting growing demands of future water users. As the first of its kind in the UC system, the UCSB Water Action Plan (WAP) will be designed with transferability in mind. The UCSB WAP will offer site-specific water conservation strategies for UCSB and, additionally, will serve as a comprehensive template for external water action plans.
U California Berkeley Plans First CO2 Sensor Network in Oakland The university’s upcoming urban sensor network installation will provide real-time, neighborhood-by-neighborhood measurements of carbon dioxide. The prototype network will employ 40 sensors spread over a 27-square-mile grid, most of them mounted atop schools to engage students in the project. The information the network will provide could be used to monitor local carbon dioxide emissions to check on the effectiveness of carbon reduction strategies now mandated by the state.
UC Merced team explores use of plasma with biomass What if the Central Valley could turn its agricultural waste into clean energy? That’s a process scientists at UC Merced are trying to perfect. Under a $258,000 grant from the California Energy Commission, university professors and students are working with a prototype of a “plasma gasification reactor,” which can turn bio-mass waste into what they hope will be low-emission fuel. “We’re particularly interested in biomass because of the abundance of it,” said Gerardo Diaz, assistant professor at UC Merced School of Engineering. “The amount of agricultural waste that is produced in the Central Valley is substantial.”
UC Davis conference buzzes with shared ideas about sustainability Fox, along with nearly 1000 other individuals from California colleges and universities, this week is learning about the latest projects at environmentally-friendly college campuses at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference at the University of California Davis. “When you think about what you can apply sustainability concepts to, it’s everything,” Catherine Kniazewycz at the University of California Office of the President, said of the conference. University representatives shared their experiences sorting through garbage to find out what students were throwing away, overcoming financial and engineering obstacles to construct energy-saving facilities, and diversifying transportation options for faculty and staff. “You don’t have to invent the wheel,” scrawled Don Reid of American River College on his recycled-paper conference schedule. For universities hoping to be more sustainable, others have already lit the way. With energy-efficient lighting, of course.
U California Davis Unveils Outdoor ‘Smart’ Lighting System Part of the university’s Smart Lighting Initiative, the nearly-completed $1 million network of “smart” lights can coordinate with each other and adapt to their environment. The system senses occupants and can be scheduled and adjusted for increased or decreased levels of activity. The new outdoor lights are expected to save the university $100,000 a year in electricity costs and offset the equivalent annual greenhouse gas emissions of 135 cars and trucks. Later this year, the university will begin the installation of adaptive, networked lighting on the inside of campus buildings.
Stanford Graduate Business School Building Achieves LEED Platinum Sustainable features of the Knight Management Center include rooftop photovoltaic panels, extensive daylighting, and a grey water system that reduces potable water use for sewer conveyance by 80 percent. Fifty percent of the site is devoted to open space.
NY Times Blog Post: Farming on the Campus Quad A recent New York Times blog profiles a handful of colleges and universities that have planted small student-run farms on formerly grassy areas that required a lot of maintenance including Green Mountain Colleges Lawn to Edible Garden Project, Duke Universitys Campus Farm and the University of Massachusetts, Amhersts permaculture project. The projects demonstrate the opportunity for students and the community to learn about local food production, as well as benefits including locally grown produce in campus dining halls.
Duke U Adopts Investment Guidelines on Conflict Minerals A student-led effort to tie the universitys investment guidelines to the issue of conflict minerals has received the backing of the Board of Trustees. A resolution was approved that authorizes the universitys investment arm to adopt a proxy voting guideline for investments in which the university has direct ownership. The guideline stipulates that the university will vote in favor of “well-written and reasonable shareholder resolutions that ask companies for reports on their policies and efforts regarding their avoidance of conflict minerals and conflict mineral derivatives.”
NACUBO, Second Nature Call on Gov’t for Help with Sustainability A recent report released by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, (NACUBO), Second Nature and the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) calls on the federal government to make it easier for colleges and universities to finance big sustainability projects on their campuses, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. The report includes several policy proposals to create incentives for colleges to pursue large-scale energy-efficiency projects like retrofitting laboratories and developing renewable energy sources to power their campuses.
See also: Second Nature Press Release
Stanford launches strategic plan for sustainability The event also served as the launch of an important year-long initiative to develop a new strategic plan to expand and enhance campus sustainability in the next 5 to 10 years. Dubbed Sustainability 3.0, the strategic plan was systematically developed by a consortium of faculty, staff, and student leaders in sustainability. Their joint goal was to outline a shared and actionable vision for making sustainability a core value on campus through teaching, research, and action. The committee developed a set of four core strategies: ensure that sustainability is a top and lasting priority, establish clear policies for implementing sustainability in every part of campus, educate and train the Stanford community, and reach beyond Stanford to influence the world. Sustainability 3.0 outlines a variety of actions to carry out these strategies, including creating a Provosts Committee on Sustainability to facilitate closer communication with university leadership. Direct link to more info on the plan
A worldwide first - Berkeley steps up to the plastic-waste challenge Stepping up to the global challenge of trying to keep plastic waste from clogging waterways, coastlines and landfills, UC Berkeley is the first university in the world to embrace the Plastic Disclosure Project. The project aims to use the concept of a plastic footprint like a carbon footprint as a way of stimulating change in the way the world deals with an important but problematic resource. It was co-founded by Berkeley alum Doug Woodring, who swam for the Golden Bears and graduated in 1988. Berkeleys effort will be managed by Campus Recycling and Refuse Services, in partnership with the Office of Sustainability. CRRS recently won funding from The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) grant program. First, a campus audit will pinpoint and quantify sources of plastic waste, from water bottles to bread bags to disposable lab ware, and come up with a plastic footprint, according to Lin King, manager of Berkeleys recycling and refuse services.
Columbia U Achieves LEED for Neighborhood Development-Platinum The universitys upcoming 17-acre Manhattanville campus has received the first LEED for Neighborhood Development-Platinum certification for a university campus plan in the U.S. To be built on a former industrial site, the campus will be an energy-efficient, pedestrian-oriented community that combines local retail, culture and green space. The campus is designed to create connections between the university and local communities, and between West Harlem and the revitalized Hudson River waterfront in New York City.
U Michigan Students Establish Campus Farm Pilot Four School of Natural Resources and Environment graduate students have established a 250-square-foot pilot farm for testing crops that will then be donated. Future plans include a larger farm and a centralized sustainable food program at the university. The students are currently seeking additional funding to hire a farm manager.
Ivy League Partners with NRDC to Green Championship Events The Ivy League will work with the Natural Resources Defense Council to reduce the environmental impacts of its championship events and provide greening resources to all Ivy athletics departments, with the goal of minimizing the environmental footprint of their operations and supply chains. A recent Ivy League Womens Rowing Championship event kicked off the partnership, featuring recycling bins throughout the racecourse venue and event programs printed on 50 percent post-consumer recycled paper.
San Diego State U Installs Solar Array Atop Student Center With funding from a student-introduced referendum passed by the student body in spring 2008, the university has installed a 115-watt solar photovoltaic array atop its Aztec Recreation Center. The system will lower Associated Students costs and help keep student membership fees low. Visitors to the facility can view the solar production in real-time.
Berkeley Lab taps UC Merced’s John Elliott to be first Chief Sustainability Officer Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has named John D. Elliott as its first Chief Sustainability Officer, a new position that underscores the importance of energy efficiency and sustainable practices within the same institution where scientists have pioneered resource-sparing technologies for decades. In his new position, reporting to Deputy Laboratory Director Horst Simon, Elliott will provide organizational and technical leadership for Berkeley Labs overall sustainability operations and serve as its main spokesperson on such issues. His appointment is a recognition that sustainability goals are of utmost importance at Berkeley Lab, which in January selected UCs Richmond Field Station site as the location of its planned second campus.
UC campuses expand composting efforts Implementing campus-wide composting programs and educating people on using a green bin for organic waste are key to achieving such ambitious goals, set by the UC system’s Policy on Sustainable Practices. “We haven’t hit the wall, but we’re at a point where we’re stuck around a certain level. There’s only so much you can do to increase recycling,” said Michelle La, program coordinator for the Waste Reduction and Recycling Program at UC Davis. “We have to take that extra step to reach that zero-waste goal.” Much of the material that winds up in landfills is organic. Capturing it through composting not only has huge potential to increase waste diversion rates, it’s environmentally beneficial and can save UC money. “Campuses are doing a good job of recycling and composting is the next step,” said Lin King, manager of Campus Recycling and Refuse Services at UC Berkeley. “There’s still a focus on recycling but by adding composting, together they are a holistic system.”
UCLA student “Waste Watchers” collects compost with rickshaws Leaders of an undergraduate environmental research team known as Waste Watchers drove the custom-built, electric and pedal-operated bikes or rickshaws on an extended campus route for the first time. Using the rickshaws for transport, the team collects and recycles leftover scraps at their own compost site located in Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. Waste Watchers formed during fall quarter through the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability’s Education for Sustainable Living Program, a student-run, 2-3 unit course that helps students design their own sustainability projects. Chief Sustainability Officer Nurit Katz has since then connected the team with six graduate students running their own pilot composting project at the Weyburn Terrace Apartments.
UCSB San Clemente Village earns DOUBLE LEED GOLD Certification The San Clemente Villages Apartments complex at UC Santa Barbara has been awarded its second Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), making the 385,000-square-foot project the largest university housing facility in the nation to be double-certified at the gold level…At the time of its opening in 2009, San Clemente Villages was certified with LEED Gold for New Construction (NC). With the new distinction LEED Gold for Existing Building Operations & Maintenance (EB) San Clemente becomes the first residential project anywhere to achieve LEED Gold in both categories, according to UCSB’s LEED program manager Jordan Sager. He described the new certification as “welcome confirmation that the project’s original design goals of optimizing energy and water efficiency are being realized.”
U California Berkeley Announces 2012 TGIF Awards Twenty-two projects will receive a total of $308,630 from The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) this year, the most funding awarded in one grant year. TGIF provides funding for projects that reduce the university’s negative impact on the environment and make the campus more sustainable. This years amount puts TGIF over the million dollar mark in total grant funding awarded over five years.
See also: AASHE Resources on Sustainable Investment and Financing
U Calif Riverside Students Win Int’l Enviro Design Competition A team of students from the universitys Bourns College of Engineering recently won the 2012 Intel Environmental Innovation Award for their reusable storm drain oil filter design. Constructed out of 100 percent recycled materials, “Sustain-a-Drain” is placed into storm drains to filter the oil carried in stormwater run-off. The students plan to patent their design and permanently install filters on campus.
U California Santa Barbara Receives $50 M for Energy Research The private donation will be used to help construct an interdisciplinary Institute for Energy Efficiency research center. See also: AASHE Resource: Renewable Energy Research Centers (AASHE Member Resource)
UC wins prestigious climate leadership award The University of California system’s achievements in cutting the carbon footprint of its campuses are being recognized with a Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature and the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). UC is among the 10 academic institutions chosen to receive prestigious Climate Leadership Awards. The third annual awards are being presented to ACUPCC signatory schools that demonstrate unparalleled campus innovation and climate leadership that helps transition society to a clean, just and sustainable future.
UCSD student’s sustainability project makes NBC national news As a tennis player for the University of California at San Diego, Jacqueline Davis said that any college athlete knows that a ton of athletic gear they get often never gets used. Davis, who interned for the university’s sustainability center, decided to tie athletics to the environment. She started the program she calls “Geared Up” which works to donate the athletic gear that might have otherwise been thrown away to public schools. The “Geared Up” program has already donated thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment.
UCSB and UCM win awards during Campus Conservation Nationals The hundreds of college dorms that competed to save energy in the nations second Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) decreased energy use by a whopping 1.7 million kWh of electricity and nearly $160,000. Launched by the Alliance to Save Energy in partnership with Lucid Design Group, the U.S. Green Building Council and the National Wildlife Federation, the CCN competition brought together nearly 250,000 students from 150 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada to save both energy and water in their residence halls. Six of the Alliance to Save Energys 16 California Green Campus Program schools participated in CCN: Humboldt State, UC Berkeley, UC Merced, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Santa Barbara, CSU Fullerton and Cal Poly Pomona.
Lighting innovator named first Rosenfeld chair in energy efficiency Michael Siminovitch, director of the California Lighting Technology Center, has been named the first Arthur H. Rosenfeld Chair in Energy Efficiency at the University of California, Davis. The designation honors both Siminovitch, a professor of design whose work is revolutionizing lighting throughout California, and Rosenfeld, considered the “father of energy efficiency.”...Siminovitch has directed the CLTC since it was established in 2003, under the UC Davis Department of Design. It has since become one of the most respected lighting research centers in the United States.
Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center installs solar An 80-panel solar array is being installed at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center to provide clean, green energy to the F. Gordon Mitchell Postharvest Laboratory, the sensory laboratory and a plant and sample handling lab. Initially, the array will generate 22.4 kilowatts of electricity per hour, a supply expected to cut the center’s energy expenditures by $5,400 per year…“This is our first step toward developing renewable energy sources at the research and extension centers,” said Luzanne Martin, a project manager for the nine-center system that stretches from Desert Research and Extension Center, near the border with Mexico, to the Intermountain Research and Extension Center, just south of Oregon.
Harvard U Lab Renovation Earns LEED Platinum A two-year demolition and reconstruction project to accommodate the Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Department has earned the Sherman Fairchild Building a LEED Commercial Interiors Platinum certification. New energy efficiency measures include an internal heat shift chiller that captures heat from high-load zones and redistributes it to other parts of the building; occupancy sensors that close fume hoods automatically when not in use; and windows to provide natural ventilation in non-lab spaces.
Washington U St. Louis to Expand Green Labs Program The university’s Office of Sustainability and Sustainability Action Team at the School of Medicine are working to expand the pilot Danforth Campus Green Labs Initiative after seeing significant savings in carbon emissions and money since its September 2011 launch. Based on initial results, the initiative is projected to save 80,000 pounds of carbon emissions and $2,000 in energy bills per year.
Arizona State U Announces Sustainability Revolving Loan Fund Individuals or departments at Arizona State University can submit proposals for its new Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund. The funds will be invested in campus projects like community gardens, motion-detecting lighting systems, energy metering projects and thermal insulations for cooling and heating pipes.
Indiana U Unveils Net-Zero Office of Sustainability Headquarters E-House features a 4-kilowatt photovoltaic system, geothermal heating and cooling system, LED Lamps and efficient storm windows. Excess generated electricity will be sold back to the grid in a net metering agreement with Duke Energy.
AASHE Bulletin’s “Connecting the Dots” column provides perspective on the week’s sustainability news (scroll down to the column written by Dedee Johnston) “What does it mean to say a campus is sustainable? If the definition is not limited to the purely physical, and instead relies on some level of engagement, how far do these opportunities for engagement need to stretch? My challenge to you as a reader is to think about who is being engaged on your campus. Think about students, faculty and staff is engagement restricted to certain groups, classes, or levels of management? How does the change reach those for whom its not an existing priority? The ecology of a campus is much like the ecology of an ecosystem.
UCSD Student Housing Earns LEED Platinum The Charles David Keeling Apartments at UC San Diego have been awarded LEED-NC (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction) Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council, making it the first LEED Platinum student housing in the University of California system. It is also the first new building at UC San Diego to receive a Platinum rating…Heating efficiencies are achieved by thermal mass, and by an innovative backwards constructed rainscreen and air barrier exterior wall that reduces heat loss and water vapor infiltration.
UC Berkeley’s Cal Climate Action Partnership was honored with a clean air award from Breathe California At its awards lunch in San Francisco, the volunteer health organization recognized Berkeley, through its CalCAP initiative, for significantly reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and demonstrating climate leadership through its student activism, broad organizational partnerships, climate action planning and financial commitment to reducing climate change. Berkeley was one of seven institutions, businesses and individuals to win 2012 Clean Air Awards.
Mother Nature Network features UCLA’s campus sustainability efforts “One of the really innovative things were doing is using campus operations as a living laboratory, connecting cutting-edge researchers with campus operations. For example, we have a faculty member in engineering who’s looking at how you actually structure and monitor electric power-charging stations, and theyre piloting this technology in the parking structures on campus. We’re using the campus itself because were embracing our responsibility to demonstrate that a sustainable society can be achieved, that you can figure out a way to do this in a way that’s financially feasible and creates that sustainable community were striving for.”
Sustainability’s Digital Infrastructure: a case study of UCSD’s microgrid “The University of California at San Diego (UCSD) has a long history of self-reliance when it comes to energy…Today, by embracing clean energy technologies in its operations and by collecting data to build an ambitious long-term sustainability plan, UCSD offers a glimpse into the future. While academics and research are at the core of UCSDs energy initiatives, the university has also worked to integrate advanced energy technology into its campus.”
UC Merced LRDP wins AIA Top 10 Award for sustainable architecture The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The projects will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C.
UCR receives LEED-NC Gold for School of Medicine Research Building + makes Princeton Review’s list of green colleges Just in time for Earthy Day on Sunday, UC Riverside has received two awards for its environmental efforts. The new School of Medicine Research Building has received LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. One of the primary energy-saving features of the three-story, 58,000-square-foot building are automatic solar shades that measure the amount of light coming into a room and deploy for shade as necessary. On Tuesday, the school announced its inclusion on a list of 322 green colleges compiled by the Princeton Review and the Center for Green Schools. UC Riverside scored of 95 out of 99 possible points on the agencies evaluation to make the list.
UCSF Center for Bioengingeering and Tissue Regeneration awarded LEED-CI Gold
The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded UCSFs HSE5 Center for